Oyster lovers, chefs and shuckers head for Narooma

Narooma Oyster Festival (Saturday 6 May) overlooking Wagonga Inlet is shaping up to be one of the best ever, and there will be plenty of oysters.

Local accommodation is filling fast.

Organisers are delighted the popular cooking demonstrations will feature award winning executive chef Colin Barker of The Boathouse in Sydney. The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay is recognised as one of Australia’s best oyster restaurants.

Colin Barker will be joined by hatted chef Dave Campbell of Wharf Road in Nowra who is returning to the Festival, as well as other local chefs and colourful food festival MC Enzo Guarino.

There are still a few places for the Ultimate Oyster Experience, intimate master classes for oyster aficionados conducted by local oyster farmers.

‘Places are limited and online bookings essential,’ said organiser Vonnie Hutchison.

‘The taste of Sydney Rock oysters varies between estuaries and the Experience includes tastings from four different estuaries as well as tastings of Angassi and Pacific oysters. These will be accompanied by matched wines and other local produce.’

Festival chairman Niels Bendixsen said the Festival’s oysters will be drawn from several south coast estuaries.

‘Farmers from five estuaries will be selling oysters in Australia Oyster Coast’s precinct – from the Clyde, Merimbula, Pambula and hopefully the Shoalhaven and Wagonga Inlet, weather permitting,’ he said.

‘This gives everyone at the Festival a chance to compare the flavour and texture of oysters from these different estuaries in one of the world’s most environmentally sustainable oyster growing regions.’

The Chamber of Commerce will serve cooked and dressed oysters all day from the famous Big Oyster Bar, dedicated to its creator the late Matt Ratcliffe.

Judge of this year’s shucking competition is John Susman, one of the biggest names in seafood in Australia and chair of oyster judges at Sydney Royal’s Fine Food Show.

‘With John as judge and Enzo as commentator, combined with the passion of some contestants we’re in for a treat,’ said Festival committee member Cath Peachey.

‘The competition is open to everyone and there’s good prize money.’

Narooma Oyster Festival kicks off on Friday evening 5 May with a free family concert with top band 19-Twenty, fantastic fireworks and great food stalls. The festivities start at 6pm with fireworks on the water about 8ish.

Saturday’s Festival will run from 10am to 4pm, with morning visitors greeted on arrival with a free oyster freshly shucked by the team at Oysters Unplugged.

Details of Saturday’s great live music program and market stalls next week.

Narooma Chamber of Commerce instigated the Oyster Festival as a signature experience for oyster lovers, particularly from outside the area, and to brand Narooma as a destination.

Check Narooma Oyster Festival webpage www.naroomaoysterfestival.com and Facebook for more information.

Above: Featuring at Narooma Oyster Festival will be John Susman, top left, judging the shucking competition, executive chef Colin Barker of The Boathouse in Sydney, Dave Campbell of Wharf Road in Nowra, and south coast oyster farmers including David Maidment of Narooma.

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